Catalan, the language battle that ignites Spain

Since a family in Canet del Mar, a small town on the Costa Brava, has obtained justice for 25% of the lessons their 5-year-old daughter receives are given in Spanish, anger is roaring in Catalonia. On Saturday 18 December, several thousand people – 35,000 according to the police – marched in Barcelona to defend linguistic immersion, which, since 1983, has made Catalan the only vehicular language of education. Present in the procession, the president of the Catalan government, Pere Aragonés, of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) party, denounced “An offensive of Spanish nationalism”.

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While the Catalan separatist leaders convicted of the October 2017 secession attempt have regained freedom, following pardons granted in June by the Spanish government, the language issue has become the main battle horse of the separatists. Undoubtedly the last which still unites them, while the movement is running out of steam – only 39% of those polled are in favor of independence, against nearly 53% who are opposed to it – and that the ERC has reconnected with the Spanish government, of which he is one of the main supporters.

The left-wing formation has just negotiated with the president of the executive, the socialist Pedro Sanchez, the approval of the 2022 finance law, in exchange for a reform of the audiovisual law, which should oblige the platforms -forms to dedicate part of their profits to the financing of productions in Catalan, and to increase the funds allocated by the government to dubbing in the co-official languages ​​of the State.

“Do not politicize the language”

In recent weeks, campaigns have been launched in Catalan universities to flag professors who teach in Spanish. And local education authorities have urged school principals to better control the language used by teachers. But no controversy has ignited the debates as much as that of Canet del Mar, which arose after the Supreme Court’s decision to guarantee 25% of classes in Castilian in schools in Catalonia.

” It’s a intolerable interference by justice in an educational model which enjoys a great consensus in society, avoids the segregation of pupils according to their mother tongue and guarantees the learning of Catalan and Castilian ”, assures the World the vice-president of the Omnium cultural association, Marcel Mauri. “For many children, school is one of the rare places where the use of Catalan is normalized”, also defends the spokesperson of the Platform for the language, Oscar Adria Ibañez, although 84% of the inhabitants of Catalonia speak it and that 94% understand it.

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